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Shutting Down Our Universities! By Gbemiga Ogunleye

If Federal Government officials who have demonstrated absolute incompetence and insensitivity by keeping our children at home when they should be in school studying, deserve to be tied to the stakes, then officials of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, too, deserve to be flogged publicly at the market square!
For, as they say, two wrongs don’t make a right! The cause of the strike is too well known to be stated here. Besides, this article does not seek to apportion blame. My concern is the plight of the students and to explore whether ASUU could have done things differently, especially, when dealing with people who are either stone deaf or genuinely unreasonable! To be sure, without the struggles of ASUU, public universities would have probably collapsed. Thanks to ASUU, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, was set up to provide the needed infrastructure and other ancillary facilities to the universities. But in my view, after going on strike for three months, without the government meeting its demands, it should be clear to the union that another option, other than strike ought to be explored. By extending the strike by another three months, ASUU is unconsciously aiding the government officials to destroy the future of the younger generation. The implications of keeping young children at home when they should be in school are probably lost on both ASUU and the government. The idle mind, they say, is the playground for the devil.
For a country still reeling from the disastrous effects of over 10 million out-of-school children, it beggars belief that it could afford to close down public universities for three months and officials of the state are not bothered. To add insult to the proverbial injury, those who are charged with the responsibility of resolving the ASUU crisis are busy campaigning and preparing for next year’s general election.
As a social critic, Tunde Fagbenle would say: What a country? On the part of the university lecturers, they are obviously sold on the idea that the only language government understands, is the language of the strike. But now that the government has turned a deaf ear to their grievances, shouldn’t they adopt another strategy? Couldn’t ASUU, for instance, have taken a cue from our women, who after the bills on women empowerment were rejected by the National Assembly, staged a series of protests at the National Assembly until the lawmakers promised to revisit the bills. Couldn’t ASUU have embarked on advocacy campaigns to our leading traditional rulers and elder statesmen (and women) on the need for them to make the government see reason. There is also the issue of the wisdom in embarking on a strike when political office holders are all busy, seeking reelection or reappointment.
Wouldn’t it be a better option for ASUU to table its grievances before the presidential aspirants of the political parties and invite them to an ASUU forum for them to discuss their plans for the education sector if elected next year. As the intellectual powerhouse of the country, wouldn’t it have been more beneficial to us all, if ASUU took interest in the ongoing process to amend the Constitution by proferring far-reaching constitutional amends like scrapping one arm of the National Assembly; making the legislature a part-time business, with members only being paid sitting allowances; limiting the number of ministers and commissioners to a manageable number, etc.
These actions will free up resources to be used to fund education. Rather, without blinking an eye, the union announced with glee that it was extending the three-month old strike by another three months, without considering the effect on not only the future of the students but also the interest of their poor parents who have laboured to send them to school. Perhaps the union took this step, confident that even if it went on strike for a year, nothing spoil, to borrow a street lingo. Their salaries and allowances would still be paid.
Now that university undergraduates have begun a series of protests over the continued closure of their campuses, ASUU should be ready to share part of the blame, should anything untoward happens to these students. Prolonging this strike is an ill wind that will do the country no good.
ASUU should be courageous enough to announce to the country, that following calls from well-meaning Nigerians and in consideration of the interests of the students and their parents, it has suspended the ongoing strike.
That, in my view, is the path of honour.


Ogun State Set to Distribute 5,000 Certificates of Occupancy

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State

Ogun State Government will, on Friday, December 1, distribute 5000 Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) to beneficiaries.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the office of the Director General, Bureau of Lands and Survey, said Governor Dapo Abiodun will present the certificates to beneficiaries, thus enhancing the value of their properties, as they can be used as collaterals, while house and landowners can also take advantage of the state’s proximity to Lagos to maximise value.

The beneficiaries are drawn from the Ogun State Land Administration and Revenue Management System (OLARMS) and the immediate pass administration’s Home Owners Charter (HOC).

The event will be held at the Arcade Ground, Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.

According to the statement, beneficiaries would be mandated to present valid means of identification.

They will also be accredited by the Bureau of Lands & Survey before the commencement of the distribution.

“The present administration in the state embarked on the exercise aimed at authenticating land documents of all house owners in the state with a view to adding value to the properties and getting the owners to formalize and benefit maximally from them.

“Additional 10,000 certificates of occupancy are in the pipeline for distribution within the next one year, urging interest application to take advantage of the opportunity,” the statement read.

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TASUED Convocation: Abiodun Gifts Three Best Graduating Students N2m Each

L-R: Best graduating student (2021-2022) from the Department of Biology, Elibe Patricia; best graduating student (2020-2021), from the Department of Mathematics, Sunday Oluwafemi; Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, best graduating student from the Department of Mathematics (2022-2023), Sanyaolu Mercy and the First-Class student of Mathematics under the indigenous work-study program, Okewale Nelson during the 13th,14th and 15th combined convocation of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijebu-Ode on Tuesday.

The three best graduating students of the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijebu-Ode, representing the 2020/2021, 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 academic years, have been awarded N2 million each by Governor Dapo Abiodun for their academic feats.

The cash award was announced on Tuesday by the Governor during the 13th,14th, and 15th convocation ceremonies of the institution.

He also announced N500,000 to the best graduating students in each of the colleges for the three years from 2020 to 2023.

The recipients are Sunday Oluwafemi, with a GPA of 4.89 (2020/2021); Obadina Patricia Elibe with GPA of 4.89 (2021/2022) and Mercy Deborah Sanyaolu with GPA of 4.86 (2022/2023).

The governor announced a cash of N250,000 to a first-class student, Okewale Nelson, who, despite taking advantage of the ingenious work-study program of the institution, was able to earn a first class degree in mathematics.

Abiodun disclosed that the feat recorded by Nelson has shown that working while studying is not a deterrent to academic success, calling on other students to take advantage of the program and go the same way.

The governor, while empathizing with the students over a recent robbery attack on some of their colleagues residing off campus, said that his administration would root out those obstructing the peace being enjoyed in the state.

He noted that his government remains and maintains a zero tolerance policy for criminal activities, even as he warned of dire consequences on anyone caught disrupting the peace of the state.

Governor Abiodun urged the graduating students to reciprocate the gift of learning and character modelling that the institution has bestowed on them, noting that his administration remains committed to creating an enabling environment for growth and development aimed at making the state economically stable for all.

Abiodun promised that his administration would continue to work diligently to the purpose of utilising the vocational courses acquired during their time in school.

He charged the graduands not to allow the fear of failure to deter them from taking the opportunities, noting that the path ahead may be demanding, but challenges are stepping stone to greatness.

In his address, the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwole Banjo disclosed that 12,700 students graduated in the 13th,14th, and 15th combined convocation ceremony, while 329 graduated in the postgraduate college.

He also said that 113 students graduated with first-class honours.

In his remarks, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council; Prof Rahamon Bello, noted that the institution has developed a reputation as being dynamic, accessible and responsive to change.

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Ekiti Govt Sues Chef Dammy’s Pastor, Demands N10m Damages

The Directorate of Citizens Rights (DCR) from the Ministry of Justice in Ekiti State has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ekiti-born Damilola Adeparusi, popularly known as Chef Dammy, against Pastor Jeremiah Adegoke and the Ekiti State Police Command for alleged infringement of the chef’s rights.

In the suit filed at the State High Court and marked HAD|23, DCR also seeks compensation of N10 million for damages on behalf of the student chef.

The DCR also asked the court to enforce a restraining order to prevent Adegoke and the police from re-arresting Chef Dammy.

After attempting a cook-a-thon challenge to break the Guinness World Record in June, Chef Dammy rose to fame.

The lawsuit was filed barely a week after Chef Dammy was reportedly arrested on the order of Adegoke, who was her pastor.

Adegoke is the head pastor of Spirit Word Global Mission, an Ekiti-based church that reportedly sponsored Chef Dammy’s record-making cook-a-thon.

The controversy between Chef Dammy and her pastor started in October, after the 24-year-old raised alarm over alleged relentless threats and intimidation from individuals whom she tagged “people of God” and her pastor.

The 300-level Mass Communication student of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), said that she had been threatened and bullied, making her live in constant fear for her life.

Although the source of the feud between the chef and her once-supportive pastor is still vague, their dispute appears to have been a fallout of the cook-a-thon.

Following Chef Dammy’s public outcry, Adegoke, in a letter signed by his lawyers, Bisayo Sule & Co. legal practitioners, dated October 23, 2023, demanded a retraction of the alleged defamatory statement on social media, an apology to two widely read national dailies, and the payment of a sum of N22 million for damages.

He gave Chef Dammy seven days to comply with the demands or risk being sued.

However, in the suit filed by Olugbenga Akinlabi, the deputy director of citizens rights in DCR, Chef Dammy, was named as the applicant; Adegoke and Ajewole Samuel, the Ekiti State Commissioner of Police, and the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 17 Akure, were named respondents.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the continued harassment, molestation, threat of arrest, and intimidation by the pastor and the Nigerian police infringe on the applicant’s fundamental human rights

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